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Md., Va. lawmakers convene for session

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(AP) - Maryland lawmakers are gathering for their annual 90-day legislative session.

Virginia legislators are set to debate the state's budget, tax exemptions and gun restrictions. (Photo: Associated Press)

In Maryland, the session begins Wednesday at noon in Annapolis. Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, and the two presiding officers of the General Assembly are scheduled to talk about the session during an annual early morning radio interview on WEAA-FM.

O'Malley is expected to make a big push to invest in infrastructure in this year's capital budget in hopes of spurring job growth.

News Talk with Bruce DePuyt will be LIVE in Annapolis today to cover the start of Maryland's General Assembly. Catch the show at 10 a.m. on NewsChannel 8 or stream the show here.

Lawmakers also will grapple with legalizing gay marriage, after the bill failed last year. O'Malley is also considering gas tax proposals and an increase in the state's flush tax, a $30 annual fee on sewer bills.

Legislation to expand gambling to include table games like blackjack also is expected to be a high-profile issue. 

Virginia's General Assembly convenes its 2012 session at noon Wednesday in Richmond with Republicans in control and looking to institute conservative changes they've sought for years.

With Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and more than two-thirds of the House's seats held by Republicans, the GOP approaches the 2012 session with a deep wish list of deferred goals to tighten limits on abortion and immigrants and loosen restrictions on guns.

There are job-development tax incentives and other enticements for business that are McDonnell's priority.

He'll make his pitch to a statewide audience in his 7 p.m. State of the Commonwealth address.

But first, 20 Republican senators - with a tie-breaking vote from GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling - plan to claim a ruling majority in a 40-seat Senate over Democrats' fierce objections.

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